The advancements in technology have started to hit the absolute daily life matter “smart diaper” has been developed with enough technology to send a mobile alert to the parent’s phone that their baby needs a change. The Penn State-led research team has developed a simple pencil-on-paper design integrated with humidity sensors to create what they are calling: a “smart diaper.”
— Phys.org (@physorg_com) February 2, 2023
The study was published in the journal Nano Letters and it describes the design behind the electrode sensor, which simply senses humidity levels that rise in the presence of you-know-what.
“The sensor is created using a pencil, drawn on paper treated with a sodium chloride solution. The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,”
As soon as the sensor gets wet, the graphite reacts with the liquid and sodium chloride, and as the paper absorbs the liquid, electrons set off a sensor. Once the sensor detects the changes in humidity in the environment, the diaper — which is connected to a tiny lithium battery — powers data transmission to a smartphone via Bluetooth, alerting caregivers that a diaper change is needed.
Sure, you could just take a little peek, as parents have been doing for hundreds of years, but you could also do this.
Li Yang, a professor in the School of Artificial Intelligence at China’s Hebei University of Technology said:
“We wanted to develop something low-cost that people would understand how to make and use — and you can’t get more accessible than pencil and paper,”
“You don’t need to have some piece of multi-million-dollar equipment for fabrication. You just need to be able to draw within the lines of a pre-drawn electrode on a treated piece of paper. It can be done simply and quickly.”
Huanyu Cheng, the James L. Henderson, Jr. Memorial Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State said:
“Our team has been focused on developing devices that can capture vital information for human health. The goal is the early prediction for disease conditions and health situations, to spot problems before it is too late.”
Cheng is also the father of two children and understands that sometimes when the little strip on the outside of the diaper turns blue, parents don’t always know how wet the diaper really is. He says that this “smart diaper” solves that problem.
“That application was actually born out of the personal experience,” said Cheng.
“There’s no easy way to know how wet is wet, and that information could be really valuable for parents. The sensor can provide data in the short-term, to alert for diaper changes, but also in the long-term, to show patterns that can inform parents about the overall health of their child.”
Not only could this save parents from wasting precious diapers by not having to change ones that are barely wet, but it could also help parents and caregivers understand more about a child’s overall health and wellness. The more you read about this concept, the less outrageously unnecessary it seems and the more it seems like a technology that could be useful in a variety of ways.
Humidity sensors could eventually save lives. Researchers also tested the device in a face mask and found it could potentially provide data that could detect the onset of a heart attack or when someone stops breathing.
this might not be technology that shows up in grocery store aisles any time soon, but it’s moving the healthcare world forward. And until then, we’ll have to rely on the blue strip, the smell test, and other proven stinky diaper detection techniques.